A second novel from BBC correspondent Sebastian (The Spy in Question, 1988), this time about a lonely, office-bound British intelligence expert who rather bravely inserts himself into the treacherous political underworld of Warsaw. The last time James Tristam was in Eastern Europe he was arrested and imprisoned for espionage. His career since repatriation has gone nowhere, especially since one is never thought completely trustworthy after such an incident. Overweight and unloved, he has plugged away at the office, his only amusement a weekly ballroom dance class. But Tristam has stayed in touch with his old circle of expatriate informants, and he consults them when there is a curious incident--the politically motivated mugging of a one-time Polish underground activist now living in London. The seething resentment of the Poles for their Russian masters has played into the hands of a group of powerful and very reactionary Soviet politicians--counterspies who see an opportunity to rid themselves of their troublesome General Secretary and at the same time to crush Warsaw as savagely as it was crushed in WW II. And there is a link between those times and these. The Poles were encouraged to revolt against the Nazis by an Englishman whose heart belonged to the Russians. The Englishman is still in the picture. Tristam slips away to Warsaw to sort things out, realizing slowly that he is in as much danger from the English as from the Soviets. As it happened, real-life Warsaw Pact politics evolved too fast for Sebastian's dates and times, forcing some revision and some delay in publication; but the story is sound, and the characters are absolutely first-rate, making this thriller well worth the wait.